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Cambridge nla meeting feb 2011 for web

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The NLA and Cambridge City Council Landlord Meeting which took place in Feb 2011

The NLA and Cambridge City Council Landlord Meeting which took place in Feb 2011

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  • Encourage good standards of management in the private-rented sector, principally by promoting codes of practice. Lobby government and other national agencies at all levels with a view to influencing the legislative and regulatory environment for the private-rented sector. Create an effective regional and local branch network that can work in co-operation with local authorities to establish a reasonable and equitable balance between the private rented sector and enforcement agencies. Work in co-operation with other organisations where there is a common interest in the private-rented sector. Develop a range of member services with a view to encouraging private landlords to remain in the sector and encouraging others to join.
  • Almost 20 commercial cannabis factories were being found by police every day, taking the total for 2009/10 to 6,886 - more than double the 3,032 discovered two years ago, and more than eight times the annual average between 2004 and 2007. he report, called the UK National Problem Profile: Commercial Cultivation of Cannabis, also found that criminals involved in the cannabis farms were also involved in crimes such as counterfeiting currency and DVDs, money laundering, immigration crime, firearms, blackmail, prostitution, theft and people trafficking. Not many in Kings Lynn but you need to stay vigilant Norwich – half a dozen in places like bowthorpe, cringleford, Taverham, Poringland, etc. Yarmouth – Caister high St, - not many but stay vigilant Just because your houses may be managed by a letting agent doesn’t mean they are safe or checked – it is your investment and your responsibility We are luckier than other areas – further North they have two full time helicopters doing heat detection!
  • Also damp walls, machine noise from fans, soil and brown bins etc if it is snowing – the roof will be clear due to the heat "Law enforcement have witnessed attempts to electrify window frames and door knobs, a home-made device which would detonate a shot gun cartridge and a window criss-crossed with bare wire attached to a standard three-pin plug," the report said. In another instance, an external side gate at a factory was wired directly to the mains. Rival gangs need protecting from
  • Children too Norfolk since October 2007 – over 50 houses have been raided 56 premises in Norfolk visited - including 30 suspected brothels and massage parlours. – including golden triangle area 18 arrests in Norfolk and another 7 in the London area.  Seven people, originating from Thailand, Malaysia, Lithuania, Poland and China, charged with human trafficking and prostitution offences.  26 suspected victims recovered, from places including Thailand, Malaysia, Lithuania, Moldova, Eritrea and Poland. Often part of a larger picture – other houses around the country
  • Often in flats where advertised as remedial or Oriental therapy
  • Keep a record of ID – another address – not if you keep 3 rd party details you need to be registered with the DPA £35 a year When they move in – excuse to visit with pop in to see how they are settling in – have to have permission to visit property – they have to agree Check you insurance policy – it is a competitively priced world but you do tend to get what you pay for – don’t assume – it can’t happen to me – read the Small print!
  • It is your investment they are living in – look after it and keep aware of what your tenants are up to – don’t be a hero, its easy to be angry, frustrated with finding these problems out but simply call the police.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Cambridge City Council & NLA Landlord Forum
    • 2. Agenda
      • 6pm Welcome by Lynsey Sweales NLA East of England Rep.
      • 6:15pm Market update by Jonathan Hopper from Garrington
      • 6:45pm Housing Benefit Changes by John Frost, Head of Revenues & Benefits & Alison Cole, Benefits Manager at Cambridge City Council
      • 7:15pm Crime in the private rental sector by Lynsey Sweales from the NLA
      • 7:45pm Home-Link Landlord & Property Approval Scheme by David Greening, Housing Options & Homeless Manager at Cambridge City Council
      • 8:15pm Questions
      • 8:30pm Close
    • 3. Aims of the NLA
      • Create a sector that is a safe, secure and viable investment
      • Work in co-operation with national and local government
      • Promote a fair and equitable balance between landlords & tenants
      • Encourage supply of good quality accommodation
    • 4. Housing Benefit Changes Landlord Forum 2 February 2011 John Frost Alison Cole
    • 5. Housing Benefit – major changes ahead
      • Very radical reform of the benefits system
      • Changes start from April 2011
      • So what’s happening……..and from when?
    • 6. April 2011 – annual uprating
      • Uprating inflation rates set in September 2010
      • CPI to be used at 3.1%
      • Had RPI continued to be used would have been 4.6% increase
      • Between 1997 and 2007 CPI averaged 2%, whereas rent inflation averaged 5%
    • 7. April 2011 –i ncrease in non-dependant deductions
      • Staged increase in non-dependant deductions so that by 2014 rates will be at the level they would have been if uprated since 2001.
      • For Cambridge this means….
    • 8. April 2011 - staged increase in non-dependant deductions
      • Apr 10 Apr 11
      • - gross income: less than £122.00 £7.40 £9.40
      • - gross income: £122 to £179.99 £17.00 £21.55
      • - gross income: £180 to £233.99 £23.35 £29.60
      • - gross income: £234 to £309.99 £38.20 £48.45
      • - gross income: £310 to £386.99 £43.50 £55.20
      • - gross income: £387 and above £47.75 £60.60
      • HB 317 claims (238 Council rent claims) affected
      • CTB 309 claims affected
    • 9. April 2011 – Additional bedroom for carers
      • According to the government’s impact assessment some families with disabled members will actually be worse off after the changes, once the impact of the 30th percentile is taken into account (most notably in Central London, Inner North London and Cambridge).
    • 10. April 2011 – capping and £15 excess
      • LHA capped at weekly rates: (likely only to affect London)
      • £250 for a one bedroom property
      • £290 for a two bedroom property
      • £340 for a three bedroom property
      • £400 for a four bedroom property
      • And the £15 weekly LHA excess provision will be removed.
    • 11. April 2011 - LHA rates will be set at the 30 th percentile of local rents
      • LHA will be set at the 30 th percentile of rents in each Broad Rental Market Area, rather than the median
      • This means that there will be less private rented sector properties available in Cambridge available to people on Housing Benefit
      • For Cambridge this is VERY significant
    • 12. April 2011 - LHA rates will be set at the 30 th percentile of local rents
      • Nationally, for 2-bedroom rate, the difference between the 50 th percentile (used currently) and the 30 th percentile is £9 or less in over half the areas in England.
      • In Cambridge the difference is £25, representing a decrease of 15.3% , which is significantly greater than the percentage loss in London.
      • Research by Shelter found that in Cambridge only 4% of rental properties were currently affordable (using the 50 th percentile calculation) to people on LHA, as opposed to 70% being affordable in the rural areas of the BRMA.
    • 13. April 2011 - LHA to be set at 30 th Percentile of local rents
              • Current LHA 30th%
        • Shared Room £77.50 £69.60
        • 1 room £138.46 £121.15
        • 2 room £155.77 £137.31
        • 3 room £183.46 £160.38
        • 4 room £253.85 £213.46
        • 5 room £346.15 £213.46
    • 14. April 2011 – current advice to tenants
      • If you are currently receiving or are thinking of applying for housing benefit, you need to consider these changes before you renew or make a new tenancy agreement with a private landlord.
    • 15. April 2011 – Transitional Protection
      • People making new claims from 1 April 2011 will be affected straight away
      • Existing customers will not normally be assessed under the new arrangements until the anniversary of their claim occurring either on or after 1 April 2011 and then they could have protection for up to nine months
    • 16. April 2011 – Discretionary Housing Payment
      • Nationally increased by £10 million
      • DHP for 2011/12 £32k (increase of £7k)
      • Can be used to help customers move
      • Or to make up the shortfall between LHA and contractual rent
      • but DHP is cash limited……..
    • 17. April 2011 – special arrangements
      • From April, we will have more discretion to pay Housing Benefit directly to private landlords.
      • We can only consider doing this in very specific circumstances where it would help the customer secure a new tenancy, or remain in their current home at a reduced rent.
    • 18. April 2012
      • Further £40m DHP grant
      • Shared room rent extended to all single claimants under 35 (£135.92 to £69.04)
      • The shared room rate is lower than all other housing benefit payments and is currently paid to claimants under 25.
    • 19. April 2013
      • LHA rates to be uprated using CPI
      • Size criteria rules introduced for social rented sector
      • HB reduced to 90% for JSA claimants after 12 months
      • LA administered cap £500 per week for families, £350 per week for singles out of work people
      • CTB to be localised (?) and reduced by 10%
      • DWP Fraud to deal with all aspects of fraud (HB/CTB)
      • Universal Credit to be introduced for new claims from October 2013
    • 20. Government’s impact assessment lists the following as likely risks
      • Increase in rent arrears & evictions
      • Increase in homelessness
      • Increased households living in overcrowded conditions
      • Decrease in quality PRS available to HB claimants
      • Disruption in children’s education
      • Disruption to support services for households with care & support needs
    • 21. Universal Credit - October 2013
      • To be paid direct to claimants (including social rented sector) with some provision for direct payments
      • Likely to be centrally administered
      • Unclear what involvement (if any) for Local Authorities
      • Claiming process to be on-line
      • Real-time integration with HMRC for verifying earnings
      • Transitional protection to apply
    • 22. Planning for Change: January 2011 – April 2017
      • Excessive number of legislative changes to be implemented – training/advice/software
      • Are software suppliers able to meet aggressive and ambitious timescales?
      • Advice to customers – starting programme of liaison now
      • Must maintain current levels of service
    • 23. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit So what are the issues for us and what are we doing to address them?
    • 24. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
      • VAT increase in January from 17.5% to 20% .
      • Inflation is at 3.7% . The level of inflation is almost twice the MPC's mandate of 2% and the committee has conceded it is likely to hit 4% early this year.
      • Total unemployment - 2.5m - More worrying - though perhaps not surprising - is the rise in the number of young people unemployed, and the creep upwards in long-term unemployment.
    • 25. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
      • Consumer spending on leisure pursuits like eating out and clubbing has fallen sharply in the past six months.
      • Mortgage lending fell to its lowest level in a decade last year, according to new figures - with the next 12 months expected to be even weaker.
      • Interest rates remains at 0.5% . Question ? Will the Bank of England raise interest rates now to tackle the current high level of inflation?
    • 26. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
      • Staffing – short medium & long-term [Reductions]
      • Working practices & processing – use of our systems
      • ICT Systems – significant changes – support -costs
      • Website – significant changes to information - links
    • 27. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
      • Training – Internal & external training and updates
      • Budget implications – Admin & subsidy grants
      • Local discretion CTB system
      • Communications – internal & external
      • Agency to DWP ?
    • 28. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit
    • 29. Housing Benefit to Universal Credit Universal Credit: Welfare that Works is available to read on the DWP website at: www.dwp.gov.uk/universal-credit . We will update you on further developments as they are made.
    • 30. Crime in the Private-Rented Sector
      • Lynsey Sweales
      • Regional Representative for the
      • East of England
    • 31. Overview
      • Why does the PRS attract certain types of crimes?
      • Key Crimes affecting the PRS
        • Cannabis Factories
        • People Trafficking
        • Brothels and Prostitution
        • Burglary
      • How to avoid being the victim of crime
      • What to do if you suspect crime in your properties
    • 32. What do all these properties have in common?
    • 33. Why target the Private-Rented Sector?
      • Overwhelming majority of cannabis factories, brothels and people trafficking take place in the private-rented sector
      • Short-Term Tenancies
        • Not staying in the same place for long periods of time
      • Anonymity
        • No name on Title Deeds
        • No involvement of Local Authorities
        • Landlords / Letting Agents not properly referencing tenants
      • BEWARE: Criminals do not just target down-market properties
        • Criminals target rural and affluent areas to avoid detection
    • 34. Cannabis Factories
      • What is a cannabis factory?
        • Criminals take over a property
        • Remove internal walls
        • Install large lamps and heaters
        • Cultivate large quantities of cannabis plants
      • What are the dangers?
        • Structural – removing internal walls
        • Electrical – bypassing electrical meters and amateur wiring
        • Fire – Heaters and lamps cause massive fire risk
        • Neighbouring / adjoining properties could also be at risk
    • 35.  
    • 36. Cannabis Factories (continued)
      • The key identifiers that your property may be a cannabis factory:
        • The distinctive smell
        • Heat emanating from the property
        • Blacked out windows / curtains always closed
        • Lights dimming in the street
        • Odd comings and goings
      • WARNING: Criminal activity voids most house insurance policies
        • Landlords will probably be left to pay for any damage to their properties themselves
    • 37. People Trafficking
      • What is People Trafficking:
        • Two Types:
          • Sexual Exploitation (Prostitution) and Domestic Servitude (Slavery)
        • People brought into the country and held against their will
          • Usually forced to live in very poor conditions (under stair cupboards, garden sheds, etc.)
          • Financially bound to their traffickers with debts they will never be able to pay off
        • Traffickers are often linked with drugs and other crimes
      • Trafficked people are usually found in the private-rented sector
        • If you suspect someone has been trafficked call the Police immediately
      • WARNING: If the Police conduct raids, they are not liable for any damage caused and your house insurance policies may be also be void
    • 38. Prostitution and Brothels
      • The key identifiers that your property may be a brothel:
        • Sparse furniture inside the premises
        • Little cooking equipment in the kitchen
        • Lack of personal effects in the bedrooms and bathrooms
        • Many different visitors to the property
        • String of different women staying for short periods of time
      • WARNING: Landlords can be prosecuted if they know their property is being used as a brothel
    • 39. Burglary
      • Big problem in HMOs and student housing
        • High concentration of valuables per property (laptops, TVs, etc.)
        • Student areas are easy to identify (To Let boards, etc.) and often empty during the summer months
      • Burglar alarms
        • If you have a burglar alarm make sure your tenants use it
        • WARNING: Your insurance may be void if the tenant does not set the burglar alarm
      • Insurance
        • Make sure you inform your tenants they need their own contents insurance
        • WARNING: If a tenant has criminal convictions it may void your home insurance policies. Check your own house insurance policies
    • 40. Other Crimes
      • Terrorism
        • Do not be complacent: Terrorist cells exist outside the major cities
        • Conduct thorough identity checks of all prospective tenants
        • If you are concerned about non-UK citizens, contact the UK Border Agency (UKBA)
      • Drug Dealing
        • Landlords can be prosecuted if they know that drug dealing is taking place in their property (dealers not just growers)
    • 41. Avoid being the victim of Crime
      • Reference all tenants
        • ID verification
        • Employer and previous landlord reference
        • Electoral Register check and Credit Check (optional)
      • Don’t take rent up front
        • WARNING: Be very wary of any prospective tenant who offers money up front
      • Check the property regularly
        • At least once every 3 months
      • Make contact with neighbours
        • Neighbours can alert you to suspicious activity. Keep them on side!
    • 42. If you Suspect a Crime
      • DO NOT: Challenge your tenants about their activities
        • They may be dangerous
      • DO NOT: Cut off power, water or change the locks
        • This is illegal and you may be prosecuted for it
      • DO: Call the Police
        • False alarm is better than no alarm
    • 43. National Landlords Association Tel: 07734 084254 Email: Lynsey.sweales@landlords.org.uk Web: www.landlords.org.uk
    • 44. Home-Link Landlord and Property Approval Scheme David Greening Cambridge City Council
    • 45. What is Home-Link?
      • A choice-based lettings scheme
      • Applicants bid for available properties in the social rented sector
      • Bids are prioritised on the basis of need
      • Sub-regional partnership involving 7 local authorities
    • 46. Consultations with landlords
      • Would pay a fee if price was right and incentives offered
      • Welcomed a set of ‘approval’ standards
      • Qualified welcome on targets for repair times
      • Lettings Agents should be allowed to advertise
    • 47. Why advertise private rented accommodation?
      • Sub-regional demand outstrips supply
      • Exploration of other housing options is required
      • Raise awareness about required property standards
      • Prevent homelessness
      • Income generation
      • Improved engagement with the PRS
    • 48. Landlords: Why advertise private rented accommodation?
      • Exposure to a combined housing register of over 22,000 people
      • Landlord approval status under the Home-Link scheme
      • Opportunities to become accredited
      • Additional services from local authorities
      • No interference from LAs on lettings
    • 49. Landlord and property approval
      • Management Standards
      • Fit and proper person assessment
      • Property standards checklist
    • 50. Fee Structure
      • A) A) Introductory - £50 + V.A.T. for the first property advertised (discounted rate) – includes basic tenant finding service, support with direct payments and credit referencing
      •  
      • B) Standard £65 + V.A.T. per property - includes basic tenant finding service, support with direct payments and credit referencing
    • 51. Fee Structure
      • Enhanced £75 + V.A.T. per property – includes basic tenant finding service, support with direct payments, credit referencing and a tenancy health check service  
      • D) Multiple £650 + V.A.T. – fixed annual fee to advertise up to 50 properties per annum - basic tenant finding service
    • 52. Other schemes
      • Bournemouth
      • http://www.dorsethomechoice.org/PDFFiles/PublicFreesheet.pdf
    • 53. Next steps
      • Build the private rented module
      • Legal checks
      • Launch within 3-6 months
    • 54. Questions [email_address] Tel. 01223 457997
    • 55. Questions?
    • 56. Cambridge City Council & NLA Landlord Forum

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